Skip to main content

Full text of "The manufacture and properties of iron and steel"

See other formats

turn would operate it, while in this place it took fourteen men on each mill. The fundamental difference was that the table rollers were not driven, and it would be safe to say that the introduction of machinery to drive those rollers would ha,ve paid back the money every three months.
At this place plans were drawn for an entirely new works, which involved immense expenditure of money, and it seemed the accepted law that an old plant should not be improved when a new one was contemplated. The reasons are self-evident, but in America such improvements do go on under exactly those conditions, because with high-priced labor and unlimited demand for steel it is often easy to pay for new apparatus in a year, Germany, with cheap labor and a smaller product, it would take a much longer time. At another works there were four mills under one roof, the building being large enough for handling and shipping the product of all the mills. The total output of these four mills was about 400 tons each twenty-four hours. In America the same outlay would produce from five to ten times that amount.
This condition, however, is not universal. It is impossible to obtain the same output from a basic converter as from an acid lined vessel, as the addition of the basic materials, the greater amount of oxidation to accomplish, and the much greater wear of the linings render it out of the question. Nevertheless there are several German works, like Rothe Erde, Phoenix, Hoesch and Hoerde, which make from 32,000 to 35,000 tons of steel per month from three basic converters ranging from 11 to 18 tons capacity.
The diversity of product in a German mill arises oftentimes from the control by syndicates of all the items of production, but it would seem difficult to get a mill up to its maximum efficiency with workmen who wear wooden shoes. It would be good business to pay for a, leather outfit simply for the moral effect.
Some American writers and metallurgists ascribe the forwardness of steel manufacture in America to the ingenuity and brilliancy of a little group of men who lived a quarter of a century ago. It is an unkind act to disparage our predecessors, but I am actuated not by any personal feeling in expressing the opinion that no one man .should be.lifted upon a pedestal of fame unless the foundation